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'Owning Mahowny' is one of the most popular Canadian gambling movies. Here's the backstory behind 'Owning Mahowny'.

‘Owning Mahowny’ – the backstory

Owning Mahowny is one of the most popular Canadian gambling movies, released in 2003, based on a true story of a Toronto Bank Employee, who managed to steal more than $10 million to feed his grave need of gambling. The movie is very popular around the world, it was even named as the best movie of the year by famous film critic, Roger Ebert. 

The movie had a huge impact on the gambling world. People started to talk more openly about the problems that some might face, while also taking a chance to provide people with accurate information. 

One of the best blackjack casinos in Canada even tried to recreate the casino that is shown in the movie. They held an event dedicated to the movie while trying to mimic the situation of the movie, giving gamblers one of the most unforgettable experiences, offering them the opportunity to have a real-life experience of their favorite movie. 

As the movie follows, in 1982, Toronto bank employee, Dan Mahowny, is given access to bigger accounts while being promoted to the office of the assistant brand manager. As his boss has a huge trust for him, he gets his hands on very important files. Being a compulsive gambler, Mahowny is soon able to skim large amounts of money, which he uses to travel every week to Atlantic City, where he gambles and is being treated like a real king by a casino manager. 

The movie not only focuses on what compulsive gambling can bring to a person itself but also everyone surrounding him, including his girlfriend. 

The stealings started at about $10,000, which was exactly as much as Mahowny needed to clear his bank debts. 

The very sad part of the movie is that it is based on a true story. The thing that the movie was able to deliver the best was that it was not the winning or losing process that Mahowny was concerned about, but the game itself. 

The film portrays it very well that the character knew what he was doing, he was very much aware of the things that gambling could bring, but he did not stop, because he was surrounded by the game, gambling was his priority. 

At only twenty-four, Mahowny was the Assistant Manager of a major company. The movie shows it very well that everyone saw him in a different way. For his colleagues, he was one of the best co-workers and a workaholic, his customers saw him as one of the most helpful people in the company. For his friends, he was a young man full of humor and life. No one, not even his girlfriend was aware of the other side of Mahowny, which was the largest single-handed bank fraud in Canadian history, who had a gambling obsession. 

The very interesting thing is also the fact that he was actually good at gambling. He was winning some money most of the time, but the thing was that he did not know when and how to stop. This once again proves that he did not want to win as much as he wanted to play the game. 

The success of the film 

This very sad story of compulsive gambler has touched many hearts. The movie, with only $1 million of budget, managed to have a box office of as much as $10 million. It was nominated for many awards, including Best Motion Picture at the 24th Genie Awards. 

It was also very popular among the critics, praising the job of Philip Seymour Hoffman, as well as the directors for providing such an insight into the real-life story.  Very famous Film critic Roger Ebert called Owning Mahowny one of the top ten films of 2003 and said that Hoffman’s performance was a masterpiece of discipline and precision. 

Gambling is a way of fun for many, but for some, this becomes to be a life-changing thing. The movie is a must-watch for anyone who is trying to understand the psychology of those who are saying that they are addicted to it, this movie represents one of the best gambling movies in the world, focusing on the addiction to the game, rather than on winning.

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